You may want to avert your eyes, this isn't pretty. I've been slacking off lately on my grinder maintenance, as you can see from the buildup on the upper burrs:Upper burrs before cleaningLower burrs before cleaning
The grinds adhered to the upper burr's sides, forming a rounded corner of old coffee. The lower burrs fared better, except for the three agitator / ejector vanes, which accumulated a thick smudge of grinds. Bleech
. Let's see what Urnex Grindz can make of this mess:Upper burrs after cleaning with GrindzLower burrs after cleaning with Grindz
Not surprisingly, what was caked on stayed put. The other surfaces are shiny and lighter without any evidence of oil buildup; if Grindz is to be effective, looks like you need to use it frequently enough that coffee grinds don't get a foothold. Now that we've seen the quick-and-easy approach, let's review the old-fashioned way, starting with how to remove the burrs.
- Empty the hopper, run the grinder until the chamber is empty. Set the hopper aside.
- Important: Unplug the grinder. Don't just turn it off at the switch, unplug it.
- Remove the safety limiter Phillips screw from the chrome-plated collar. Its removal allows the collar to spin freely.
- Turn the collar clockwise to remove (it's reverse threaded). Carefully mark the collar at the point the threads disengage with a felt-tip pen for later reference.
- Clean the burrs with the implements of your choice. I use a small stiff bristle brush, vacuum cleaner, toothpicks, chopsticks, and for the really teenie cracks, a sewing needle. Apply no oils or introduce water into the grinding chamber, and obviously no chemicals of any sort.
As I mentioned earlier, screwing the collar back on can prove challenging because you must push down the upper burr carrier against three tension springs while engaging the threads. You can do it yourself by pushing the aluminum carrier down with the flat of your hand while rotating the collar with your other hand, but I recommend getting a helper:
- Place the upper burr carrier and collar in position. The mark noting the disengagement point should be an inch or so prior to the start of the thread (i.e., the dot on the collar should be to the right of the engagement point).
- Place a tamper into the throat of the grinder. Ask your helper to push down. It won't require a lot of force, compressing the springs a few millimeters is enough.
- Rotate the collar clockwise (remember, it's reverse threaded, this is in the looser direction). The thread of the collar should nicely drop into the thread of the lower assembly. Continue turning just a little further, then reverse to engage the first thread.
- Remember to put back the safety limiter screw.
The threads engage easily. If you feel resistance, rotate the collar clockwise to remove and try again. Take your time, cross-threading the collar would be a costly mistake!Lower burr after Grindz and hand cleaning